Sunday, August 18, 2019

Hakata-maru Darling Square, Haymarket

My favourite Sydney Hakata ramen shop is back in Haymarket with their range of Fukuoka inspired ramen! I was saddened when Hakata-maru closed their Market City shop a while back. Thankfully, they scored a spot across from The Exchange (on Nicole Walk) at Darling Square

I’ve always liked their no-nonsense approach to their ramen and the price point is probably one of the best in Sydney. The space is like a contemporary tavern. They have communal tables,
two areas of window counter seating near the kitchen and lots of outdoor tables for two.

The usual Hakata-maru ramen choices are available on the menu including the white tonkotsu ($12.50). This is a classic Hakata-style ramen that uses a shio (salt) based tare to season the pork bone (tonkotsu) broth and because of that, the broth retains its milky colour and consistency. The shio tare brings out more of the porky flavour and umami. It also has that classic thin noodles cooked katame (or al dente) and topped with chashu, kikugare, negi and nori.

From all the Hakatamaru dishes that I’ve had in the past and present, my personal favourite is the bonito shoyu tonkotsu ramen ($16.50).The noodles used are the standard curly type used by most ramen shops but cooked katame. The broth is soy based with a double soup of katsuobushi (bonito) broth and tonkotsu broth. The broth had a lot of umami and depth with some smoky notes from the bonito broth. Topping includes chashu, bean sprouts, negi, nori and half ajitamago (flavour egg).

If you want your tonkotsu ramen with depth minus the smoky fishy flavour, try their shoyu tonkotsu ramen ($16.50). It pretty much has the same toppings as the shoyu niboshi ramen but the difference is in the seasoning. As the name states, the broth is seasoned with soy tare that gives depth and complexity to the pork bone broth and with added sweet notes.

The Darling Square shop offers more than just ramen. They currently also have curry rice dishes and sides like karaage chicken and gyozas. Soon they will also have Japanese inspired gua baos like kakuni bao and karaage bao at $5.50 each.

Hakatamaru Darling Square
Nicole Walk
35 Tumbalong Boulevard
Sydney NSW 2000
Soft opening hours:
7 days 11:30 pm to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 8:30pm

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